The Howl Zone was clamoring with students from the University of New Mexico’s LGBTQ Resource Center as they gathered under a colorfully decorated tent in the tailgate section next to University Stadium on Oct. 16 to celebrate National Coming Out Day, which was on Oct. 11.
“Part of the reason that we chose today (for the tailgate) is that Oct. 11 is National Coming Out Day and so we’re doing this kind of as our ending party,” Frankie Flores, the director of the LGBTQ Resource Center, said. “We’re coming out for sports.”
Before the Lobos faced off against the Colorado State Rams, attendees at the LGBTQ tailgate tent had the opportunity to eat snacks, pick up a shirt advocating for racial justice in the queer community and watch drag queens perform.
The drag queens made their presence known, which was clear right off the bat when the iconic opening synth chords of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” rang out in accompaniment to first queen Kiki Stratton’s elaborate routine, drawing students out of the tent to watch.
The next two queens, Allison Saint and Kuwani, continued to encourage the audience to be a part of an interactive performance outside of the tent. Although the Howl Zone wasn’t notably busy during the afternoon, the performances by the queens stopped more than a few passersby.
The event was made possible by Amanda Carroll, a graduate assistant in the academic program for athletics, who reached out to the center with ideas about integrating LGBTQ issues with athletics.
“We really wanted to have a space where our LGBTQ student athletes and the LGBTQ Resource Center could collaborate and come together … (This event) reflects how we just wanted to give them a space to hang out and be themselves,” Carroll said.
Carroll and Flores said they want this event to kick-start future collaborations between the LGBTQ Resource Center and the athletics program in the future.
Shelby Kleinhans is the multimedia editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BirdsNotReal99